Oh how we love the ever-present smartphone. It keeps me up to date when breaking news happens. It keeps my hands busy and mind occupied while I’m waiting in the doctor’s office. It makes it possible to carry around my five favorite novels at all times. It makes sure I don’t forget important birthdays, events, and meetings. It challenges me intellectually with stimulation puzzle games (and inflates my ego when I beat my friends at them). I can take a photograph and preserve a memory (or save evidence) at any moment. It keeps me in touch with everyone I know, all the time (which to be honest, is also a negative).
But are they killing the relationships right in front of us? I can’t remember the last time I was out to dinner where I was able to look around and not see any cell phones. There is ALWAYS at least one table where the couple or family are all sitting silently, food in front of them, with their heads down messing around on their phones. I am a big whiner about this, so thankfully my boyfriend and I don’t have this problem when eating meals.
Time at home is another story. Every morning when we wake up we spend a good 30 minutes to an hour quietly on our phones (being able to lounge in bed is THE best part of working second shift). If we’re watching something on TV and one of us doesn’t care for it, rather than change the channel to something we agree on, one of us will sit silently on the phone. Any given night out with the girls, one glance down the bar/table and all of our phones are sitting out, face up.
Texting drives me crazy in general. It is not a valid form of communication! In real life conversations you’ll never be given the chance to formulate thoughts and phrase them with painstaking perfection because you want to sound a certain way. There’s no inflection in text messaging. Forget about sarcasm, unless you want to look like a jerk, and be guaranteed an argument. And if you’re bad with grammar, spelling, or punctuation – good luck. The fun of talking to someone is making things up on the fly, that’s how you learn who a person is – when he/she doesn’t have the time to thoroughly think through what they want to say before it comes out. Word vomit is like relationship confetti.
While it’s becoming so much easier to keep in touch long distance, we’re becoming disengaged in person. I hear so many complaints from other twentysomethings about how hard it is to meet people once we leave college. What are supposed to expect when we’re constantly walking around with our ears plugged and our eyes down? Are we getting so accustomed to online interactions it’s starting to make it impossible to have stimulating conversations in person. Smartphones are surpassing smart people.
Take a minute and look up from your phone, you can learn a lot from a person’s face (e.g. if they’re interested, breathing, dozing off, or a stranger that has replaced your friend).
- Smartphones and not so smart people (reallifetwentysomething.com)